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Saturday, October 23, 2021

How opening the batting turned around Rohit’s Test career


‘You can say it would have been my last opportunity if I wouldn’t have succeeded anything could have happened.’

IMAGE: Rohit Sharma struck his first Test hundred away from home and eighth overall to put India in control on Day 3 of the fourth Test match against England on Saturday. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rohit Sharma admitted that the decision to open the batting in Test matches back in 2019 was one of the biggest risks he took as a cricketer because he was aware that it was his ‘last chance’ in red ball cricket.

Rohit hit a magnificent 127 — his first overseas hundred to put India in a good position against England on Day 3 of the fourth Test at The Oval in London on Saturday.

Asked if giving the green light to the team management about batting at the top of the order was the biggest risk that he took, the elegant Mumbaikar nodded in approval.

“You could say so in hindsight,” Rohit said at the end of the third day’s play.

“In the back of my mind, I knew this was my last chance as well trying another position in the batting order,” he said after scoring his eighth Test hundred and fifth as an opener.

“When the offer came to me, I was very much aware of it as there were talks within the management about opening the innings at some stage. Mentally, I was ready to take up the challenge and see how I can do well up the order,” he said.

He was aware that there won’t be too many chances as the opener as his stint as a middle-order batter didn’t go exactly well.

“I know I batted in middle order and things didn’t go as per the way I wanted it to and I knew this was my last opportunity to try out and you know management is thinking whatever I want to try,” he stated.

“When you are playing the sport, you always have to take those chances and you always have to take those risks and so you could say I was ready for it and didn’t come to me as a surprise. You can say it would have been my last opportunity if I wouldn’t have succeeded anything could have happened,” said Rohit, who was very straight forward in his admission.

He did say that the team management had told him that he will get a long rope.

“That (about it being his last opportunity) was my feeling. I don’t know about others because the team management told me that I will have a long run. But I wanted to think in a way that this is it. I have to make good use of the opportunity and for that I have to do whatever it takes,” he said.

For Rohit, it is all about ticking the small boxes in pursuit of the bigger picture.

“I don’t mind looking ugly at times as long as I can get the job done for the team. That is very crucial.”

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